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Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (A Book Like This Merits A Sober Title)

What do you say about a book that makes you want to jump in and take care of the characters? To give them a hug and tell them you’re there for them and it aches not to be able to?

Ishiguro has been on my to-read list for quite a while now, but I was very particular about this book being my first – a sort of gateway into the world of Ishiguro-loving-awesomeness, if you will. Why was I so particular? I saw the movie earlier this year as part of my 50-50 Challenge. I’ll come to that in a bit.

The Book.

I’ve heard a lot of people praise this book to the stars, always along the lines of,  “Ishiguro is amazing. You have to read his work!” But WHY is this man amazing? What is it about him ? I’ve never heard a single bad review of this book, and I never thought it strange until I started reading. I’ve always just nodded eagerly and made a mental note to get my hands on the book.

So, let’s look at this man, shall we? For the first fifty pages or so, I felt nothing. Sure, it was interesting, but his writing wasn’t particularly scintillating – certainly nothing I’d be impressed by having just read Angela Carter (review coming soon, this woman is mad. In a good way, of course).

Was it the characters? No, not really.

Was it what he was writing about? (I’m not telling you, this book has been falsely advertised as a lot of things and it makes me very angry. I’ll direct you to the Goodreads summary, though. But please don’t look through the reader reviews. Do you trust me? Yes? Good. )

“Get on with it!”, you’re thinking. “Tell us!”

Honestly? I don’t know.

Never Let Me Go is the most beautiful, depressing piece of art I have ever come across. It isn’t one whose magnificence you’d shout from the rooftops, but one you’d carry around with you, stare at lovingly from time to time, flip through pages long after you’ve finished – just to remember the journey it took you on.

It’s the kind of book you’d recommend with sparkly eyes and a secretive little whisper. The kind that you’ll think about long after you’ve finished reading and occasionally shake your head in wonder. The kind that’ll make you want to review this before Mistborn even though you read that one first and it was fantastic.

Is there anything extraordinary about this book? If I have to be honest, no. But it’s a special book. A very special book. A very, very, very, very…you get it. I expected to weep buckets, because that’s what happened when I watched the movie for the first time. But I was dry-eyed for the most part. There were just two sentences that set me off. Two sentences, two choked sobs. That’s it. But in those few moments, I felt such a deep connection to Kathy (Goodreads link, clickety-click), that it felt like..I can’t tell you what it felt like. I don’t have the words.

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High Fidelity. Highly Recommended.

I’ve mentioned how much I love Nick Hornby before, and although About A Boy was great, High Fidelity was the one I went ga-ga over. I had just finished Pamuk’s The Museum Of Innocence, and I was looking for something different to read. Something I could have fun with. I went to my English teacher, and he asked me if I’d read anything by Nick Hornby. On hearing a no, he promptly thrust High Fidelity at me.

I loved it. And that’s where the problem started.

Normally, when I read a book, and love it, I’m not too keen on watching the movie. I realise that that’s a little stupid, and there are so many  book-based movies that, while maybe aren’t as good as the books, do quite a good job at standing their own ground as movies. I shouldn’t even expect them to be the same because, well, they can’t be.

Anyway, I steered clear of the movie for quite a while, despite hearing that it was really, really good. It took Kristen from Journeys In Classical Film calling it one of her favourites to get me to watch it. If you check out her blog (and I recommend that you do), you’ll know why I had to go see it – she really knows her films. (Plus, she’s holding a film tournament soon, which is something I’m very excited about!)

So, if you’re like me, and you’ve had misgivings about watching this, take it from me. This one changed my mind about book-based movies. Okay, maybe not entirely, but it’s a long process, lots of prejudices to overcome and all that. Watch it. It’s worth it. And if you haven’t read the book, well, what are you waiting for?!

An Epic of Epic Epicness?

Let me just tell you how good it feels to read something with “Pow!”s and “SPLOOSH!”s in it,  after such a long time.

Point proved? Moving on..

I’ve been wanting to read Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series for a very, very long time – and now that I have, I can’t stop raving about it. I’m going to do the predictable thing and ask you to read the books before you watch the movie, because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

Ahem.

Okay, to be honest? Watching the movie after is a little disappointing. The movie reduces Scott Pilgrim to being just some guy (whose life happens to have awesome video-game like properties) fighting The League/Guild Of The Seven Evil-Exes in order to be able to date his new new girlfriend – Ramona Flowers. I hated how I kept going, “But THAT bit! Where’s that bit??!” and, “Oh, come on! You can’t just leave it at that!” – but the truth is, I need to stop grumbling and realise how it really is difficult to compress six volumes into a two-hour movie. Keeping that in mind, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is really quite good. I’m not as thrilled with this as I was with how well Watchmen translated on screen, but Watchmen is in a league of its own, and I shouldn’t compare.

Actually, I shouldn’t be comparing the movie and the books, either. Okay, then. Let’s do this! (Cue theme song)

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The Next Seven

I enjoyed these so much more than the previous lot.

Movie #9: The Beaver

That Mel Gibson guy can act. Phew. I was glued to the computer screen, and shushed everybody that tried to talk to me during the movie. Honestly. Why do people DO that? Can’t they see the wide eyes, the half-open jaw, the look of almost-worship I’m giving the screen that is a sure indication that I’m loving the movie I’m watching?

Movie #10: The Maltese Falcon

We watched this in our English Class, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually liked it. I finally understand what all the fuss about Humphrey Bogart is about. He’s charming, that one. Look at that. Oof.

I found Mary Astor very, very, very annoying, though. Other than that, a good movie.

Movies : 8 :)

Okay, so. I watched these movies before I actually took up the challenge. But, it was in the last week, so it’s still legit. 🙂

1. 500 Days of Summer

It’s smart and it’s..nice. And a little predictable, but who cares. Go watch it anyway. If you’re in a mood for popcorn, and a happy, sunny movie, I’d recommend this.

But not on a day when you want something really, really, really good to watch.

I’d watch it for Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, more than anything.

2. Gattaca

I watched this one because my mom kept going on about how great it is, and..well..Okay. It is. It wasn’t the fall-off-my-chair-in-astonishment-because-this-is-the-best-movie-ever kind of movie I was hoping it would be, but, yes. Watch, watch, watch.

3. Zombieland

Don’t ask me why I watched this. I have no clue.

Don’t ask me why I liked this. I have no clue.

Dreadful movie. Go see it. 🙂

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